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The Fidelius Charm Plot Hole Solved By Intrepid Harry Potter Fans

With the Harry Potter series, J.K. Rowling created an intricate wizarding world that spanned seven lengthy books, not including sequels and spin-offs. So it kind of goes without saying that she was bound to forget to fill in a few plot holes here and there. Fans have had more than two decades to read, and re-read Harry Potter (and watch, and re-watch the films), and they've catalogued and debated these mistakes with a passionate attention to detail.

A far cry from J.K. Rowling's most controversial moments, the plot holes fans identify generally have to do with how Rowling's brand of magic works — for example, the Fidelius Charm. It's employed by the Order of the Phoenix multiple times to protect their hideouts from Voldemort and his Death Eaters. As the mechanics of the spell go, a location subject to the Fidelius Charm can't be revealed to someone new without some very specific magical intervention. Those rules create a narrative problem for Ron Weasley, however, who discusses a charmed location in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, seemingly in violation of the established magical guidelines.

Despite this seemingly glaring oversight, one fan on the r/HarryPotter Reddit forum recently may have solved the plot hole, by explaining that it wasn't a mistake after all. Here's the lowdown on why fans thought the Fidelius Charm created a plot hole — and how it might actually be okay after all. 

The alleged Fidelius Charm plot hole is all about the timing

For years, some fans have argued that the way the Fidelius Charm is utilized in Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows doesn't make sense in light of how J.K. Rowling explains the spell. In short, it's a very complicated spell that conceals an important secret inside of a witch or wizard's soul. The Secret Keeper can protect many different kinds of secrets, including locations and dwellings of people who need to go into hiding.

In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, we learn that Bill and Arthur Weasley are the Secret Keepers for Shell Cottage, Bill and Fleur Delacour's home, and a safe house in use by the Order of the Phoenix. The only problem is that we learn about the hiding spot from Ron, who directs Dobby to take the prisoners at Malfoy Manor there. According to the Fidelius Charm rules, that shouldn't have been possible. Except, there's one way it could have been. 

If you read between the lines, it looks like the Fidelius Charm worked after all

In the past, fans have speculated that Ron was made an additional Secret Keeper, and J.K. Rowling just didn't mention it. Others just argued it was a miss on her part. However, a helpful Reddit user reminded fans that it would have been possible if Arthur and Bill were made Secret Keepers after Harry and co.'s arrival at Shell Cottage.

They argued that one key detail validates their theory: In the chapter "The Wandmaker," Bill leaves for the Burrow immediately after everyone arrives at his home. While J.K. Rowling doesn't spell out the fact that he's going to inform his family and get help with the Fidelius Charm, it's easy to assume that's why he'd leave during such a dangerous time.

We don't see Bill leave in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2, but it's safe to assume if it was true in the book, it would hold up in the movie, too. Either way, it's a well-reasoned argument — and it seems like fans have debunked the Fidelius Charm quandary for good. Now, if only we could figure out what was up with all those other dumb things in Harry Potter everyone just ignored.